Looking for a delicious, quick, and easy weeknight dinner? These Korean Gochujang Beef Bowls are perfect for busy evenings! Packed with savory, spicy, and slightly sweet flavors, this dish is sure to become a family favorite. Plus, it’s ready in under 30 minutes, making it a convenient choice for those busy days.

Quick and Easy Beef Bowls

Nothing beats a quick and easy meal that actually has flavour and versatile. This idea originally came to mind when I added gochujang to a my napolitan for a little kick. Gochujang and ketchup paired together works so well together because of their sweet and savory elements with a bit of tang. I knew it would be so delicious over rice and since making it, it’s been on repeat. I also love how meal-prep friendly it is!


Many of the ingredients listed below are common ingredients found in Korean dishes. They can be found at Korean supermarkets or the Asian aisle of most grocery stores.

  • Ketchup: Adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor, acting as a base for the sauce.
  • Gochujang: A Korean red chili paste that provides a spicy and savory kick to the dish.
  • Rice Vinegar: Enhances the sauce with a touch of acidity to balance the flavors.
  • Soy sauce: Adds a rich, umami depth to the sauce.
  • Mirin: A sweet Japanese rice wine that contributes a subtle sweetness and complexity.
  • Garlic: Infuses the sauce with a robust, aromatic flavor.
  • Honey and sugar : Provides a natural sweetness that complements the heat from the gochujang.
  • Gochugaru: Korean red pepper flakes that enhance the sauce with additional heat and a slightly smoky flavor.
  • Onions: Adds a sweet and savory base when sautéed, enhancing the overall flavor of the beef mixture.
  • Ground beef: Provides a hearty, protein-rich component to the bowls. Substitute with plant based ground beef to make it vegan friendly.

How to Make Gochujang Beef Bowls

What I love about this recipe is how quick and easy it is to make, especially with my little trick on microwaving the onions beforehand.

  1. Make the sauce
  2. Cook the onions
  3. Cook and season the beef
  4. Reduce the sauce

Lisa’s Recipe Tips

  • Pre-cook the onions in the microwave: This is something my mom has always done as a home cook to save time and I think this is the first time I’m sharing this little trick. Instead of waiting for the onions to cook on the stove (especially with electric) that can take several minutes, microwave them for 1-2 minutes covered and then you can add the beef at the same time!
  • Taste and adjust: After mixing the sauce ingredients together, taste and add more gochujang, gochugaru or sweetener depending on how spicy and tangy you like it.
  • Freeze in portions: For quick meals, meal prep them and freeze in your preferred serving sizes for quick meals throughout the week. Simply defrost them the night before in the fridge and then microwave until reheated.

Serving Suggestions

I love serving this bowl with some rice and fresh vegetables that help cut the spice like cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and bell peppers! Because this meat sauce can be made on the saucey-er side depending on how long you reduce it, it pairs really great with pasta or noodles too! It’s also great paired with some quick kimchi or cucumber salad.

How to Store Gochujang Beef

To store gochujang beef, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. For longer storage, freeze the beef in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.

How can I make this vegan or vegetarian?

Substitute the ground beef with crumble tofu, shredded tofu, TVP or your favourite plant based ground beef alternative!

Enjoy!! If you make this Gochujang Beef Bowls  recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rating and if you decide to share it on socials, tag me on instagram @Okonomikitchen. I’d love to hear from you!

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Gochujang Beef Bowls

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  • Author: Lisa Kitahara
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Enjoy this quick and easy weeknight dinner with these Gochujang Beef Bowls! Ready in under 30 minutes, this flavorful dish combines savory, spicy, and sweet elements for a delicious Korean-inspired meal your family will love.


Units Scale


  • 3 tbsp (50 g) ketchup
  • 3 1/2 tbsp (63 g) gochujang
  • 2 tsp (10 g) vinegar
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp (22 ml) mirin
  • 1 tbsp (15 g) minced garlic
  • 12 tbsp (2245 g) honey
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp gochugaru


  • 2 small (225-270 g) onions, diced
  • 1 pound (450 g) ground beef
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • rice, for serving
  • sesame seeds, for garnish
  • scallions, for garnish


  1. Mix the sauce: Add all the sauce ingredients to a bowl and whisk well. Taste and adjust the heat and sweetness.
  2. Cook onions: Dice the onions and then add it to a microwave safe bowl. Cover and microwave on medium high for 3-4 minutes until translucent.
  3. Cook beef: Over medium high heat, drizzle a little bit of oil and add the cooked onions. Saute for a minute and then add in the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Break up the beef with a wooden spatula and cook until no longer pink.
  4. Flavour the beef: Add the sauce and cook until reduced, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.
  5. Serve: Enjoy over rice and top with sesame seeds and scallions. Pair with some fresh vegetables like cucumber or lettuce as desired.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 mintues
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Korean

About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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